* Posts by Lomax

276 posts • joined 31 Mar 2009

Page:

Reviving a classic: ThinkPad modder rattles tin to fund new motherboard for 2008's T60 and T61 series of laptops

Lomax
Facepalm

Re: T42p

I had the 14" T42p and it's definitely one of the most solidly built of the Thinkpads (the 600 series also springs to mind as particularly "indestructible"). I'd left mine switched on and open on the desk in my office when a torrential downpour caused a leak in the roof right above it - when I got into the office the next day I was met by a faint smell of burnt electronics and found my cherished T42p had been completely filled with rainwater. I removed all batteries, took out the keyboard and DVD drive and left it on the radiator for a few days, but any hope I had was lost when I reinstalled the parts and tried to turn it on; it was of course dead as a dodo. Chucked it in a drawer and tried to forget about it, but found it a month later and was amazed to see it spring to life when I flicked the power switch! I kept using that machine for several years, and even did a hardware mod on it to change the HDD interface from IDE to SATA. It was a lovely machine.

Lomax

Re: X330 FTW!

Portability and durability are my most important parameters. And having a "traditional" keyboard with a TrackPoint is non-negotiable. As far as I know the X330 is the most up-to-date machine that ticks all my boxes, there really seems to be no other option. Would love to upgrade the mint condition X61s I have in storage - 4:3 looks frikkin amazing compared to the 16:9 letterboxes we've all become used to viewing the world through.

Lomax
Thumb Up

X330 FTW!

I have an X230 modded with an X220 keyboard, IPS screen, 2.9GHz i7, 16Gb RAM, 500Gb SSD. I use it all day, every day. Love it! My only concern is that there is no future upgrade option, and that I will have use a laptop made in 2012 for the rest of my life. It seems us computer professionals are no longer a viable market segment for the big manufacturers, so projects like these may be the only way forward.

RIP Bernie Drummond: Celebrated ZX Spectrum artist and programmer on Batman, Head Over Heels, Match Day II

Lomax
Angel

Head over Heels (in Love)

So complex, so beautiful - a true masterpiece. Do yourselves a favour and check out Retrospec's excellent, and 100% faithful, full colour reworking of this astonishing example of assembler wizardry and pixel art, still available from archive.org. I think it's Windows, MacOS and BeOS(!) only, though there may be a Linux version floating about elsewhere in the Intertubes... RIP Mr Drummond - thanks to you every time I see a toaster I imagine jumping over it.

Apps made with Google's Flutter may fritter away CPU cycles. Here's what the web giant intends to do about it

Lomax

Re: This is why we can't have nice things

You probably have several things happening, such as waiting for an IP address, searching & mounting drives, intialising hardware, polling for keyboard interrupt - these are not CPU bound tasks.

Lomax
Stop

Re: This is why we can't have nice things

> MSN messenger worked, was fast, consumed n in ~10MB of memory.

So did Pidgin, my favourite messaging app. Sadly I cannot use it anymore; today I exclusively use Matrix / Element for voice/video/chat and am forced to use their shitty Electron "web app", which suffers from all the problems you mention (and more!). It's also a full screen app for some reason, while Pidgin managed to do all the same things (and better!) in a ~300px wide window - using only a tiny fraction of the system resources consumed by Element.

Awkward. At Chrome summit, developer asks: Why should anyone trust Google?

Lomax
Holmes

Re: Trust Google?

> But can anyone really get around having a Google account?

Let me turn that question around: how can anyone really stand using any Google product once they know just how toxic and corrosive their business practices are?

I use the KolabNow groupware, the Qwant search engine and a SailfishOS smartphone. I do watch YouTube, but would stop if it required me to sign into a Google account. If you don't exercise your right to choose you will end up losing it. Be the change you want to see. Support the alternatives.

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Lomax
Alert

Re: "you're also paying to be part of Samsung's global TV advertising network"

> Personally, I prefer to use the TV as a dumb display, and hook in various standalone devices for my media consumption. And that's what I'll keep doing.

I'm sure it's only a question of time before they will require an Internet connection to function. Cf. HP printers, Adobe software, etc.

Google's 'Be Evil' business transformation is complete: Time for the end game

Lomax
Boffin

UnGoogle yourself

If you've finally reached the conclusion that life without Google might be better, but don't know what to do about the spyware smartphone in your pocket:

Jolla have just released Sailfish OS 4.2, their third release this year.

It's really quite good.

Lomax
Go

Re: Because Google is actually useful

I quite like Qwant.

Online harms don’t need dangerous legislation, they need a spot of naval action

Lomax

Re: Alt-history

Really appreciate you all offering your critique of my thought experiment - and I hope it's clear from the title that it really is just that; I do not advocate nor support any legislation which would reduce anonymity online today. That cat is long out of the bag and busy chasing mice touchscreens. I do feel that you are somewhat missing my point though, which is that diverse human society existed long before the Internet, replete with dissent and copyright violation and journalism and freedom of speech and anonymity and hobbyists and successful sexual and minority liberation movements. All of those things existed long before the Internet, and arguably were often of a higher grade than the vapid echo chamber we now find ourselves trapped in. Reading your responses I can't help wondering, how old are you? Do you understand how insignificant the social developments of the last fifty years are compared to those achieved in the fifty years preceding them? In fact in many ways we are regressing. The price we have paid is complete dependence on a technology that now threatens to undermine the very mechanism which makes change possible: democracy.

I sometimes think we are approaching a point where the best we can hope for is another Carrington Event.

Lomax
Mushroom

Alt-history

> Likewise the calls to enforce ID for users. This breaks down on every level – infosec, effectiveness and sanity

Well, yes, this is true. But it is only true because of what the Internet has become: a vital extension of our private space. Now I was born the previous century, many years before the intertubes connected us all into this angry ball of hate, and I can't help thinking that things might have been very different if access to them had been predicated on your identity being known from the start. You know, a bit like how your car has to carry license plates. It's a public network after all, much like how the road network is a public network, and a network on which we're belatedly beginning to realise that an individual's ability to do harm to others is just as great. Sure, it would have meant the whole "information wants to be free" cyber-punk movement of the 80s and 90s* wouldn't have happened; no Napster, Piratebay or Oink's Pink Palace, but you know what, life was kind of ok before it. The Internet would still be just as useful, when it comes to reading the news, ordering food, downloading user manuals, looking things up in an encyclopedia or watching films, but mass disinformation campaigns would be impossible a lot harder to conduct - and my mother's cousin might still be alive because she wouldn't have seen an endless stream of posts on facebook about how Bill Gates is trying to kill us all with his evil vaccine. Or at least she might have died while still on friendly terms with the rest of her family.

*) A movement, I might add, I very much considered myself a part of. Still do I guess, but quo vadis?

Twitter's machine learning algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians over those on the left

Lomax
Mushroom

Re: Black Box

> In this case, it's relatively benign

Unless of course you consider the collapse of civilisation to be a problem.

FSF doubles down on Richard Stallman's return: Sure, he is 'troubling for some' but we need him, says org

Lomax
Big Brother

Re: Let's see...

> the HRA 1998 is unaffected so far by Brexit

Six months later:

"We’ve got to bring this nonsense to an end. So today I can tell you that, under this Prime Minister and before the next election, we will overhaul the Human Rights Act to end this kind of abuse and restore some common sense to our justice system."

- Justice Secretary Raab, October 2021

Asked about his plans to reform the Human Rights Act, Mr Raab revealed that he is devising a "mechanism" to allow the Government to introduce ad hoc legislation to "correct" court judgments that ministers believe are "incorrect".

I shall resist a very strong temptation to violate Godwin's law here, and let the icon speak for itself.

Where meetings go to die: Microsoft Teams outage lets customers skip that collaboration call they've been dreading

Lomax
Facepalm

Office 365 was also affected

Claims the Indy.

Such a great idea, isn't it, to rent your productivity software from across the Internet. What could possibly go wrong? Fortunately there is an easy fix that will let you continue working on your draft report even when some remote server has fallen over - and it's free as well (in both senses):

sudo apt-get install libreoffice

Edit: Perhaps MS should change the name to Office 364, just to ward off any false marketing lawsuits. Even better: Office 360. As in "you are surrounded by idiots on all sides".

AWS tops up the Bezos rocket fund thanks to more money from Brit tax collection agency

Lomax
Facepalm

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it

"In addition, HMRC has awarded a £2m contract to AWS EMEA Sarl UK's Professional Services wing, again for two years. This involves the provision of consultants that will work on speeding up the adoption of AWS products and services."

So HMRC are paying Amazon to tell them what other Amazon products they should buy.

What could possibly go wrong?

All grown up: Raspberry Pis running Ubuntu added to IoT patching service KernelCare

Lomax

Yeah, and reboots are pretty quick on my Devuan IoT Pis. I always run with automatic security updates, and take into account when designing the system that individual machines will reboot occasionally. Never had a problem. Oh actually, I did have an issue where my OpenVPN connection sometimes wouldn't come back up after a reboot, but I fixed that with a little bashing. I use Mosquitto for messaging, which holds messages until delivered, and Node-Red for flow control, with cold start initialisations. Rebooting is not the drama it used to be.

Wine pops cork on version 6.0 of the Windows compatibility layer for *nix systems

Lomax
Angel

Re: Don't forget Crossover Office

> TOOLS and UTILS

What is the difference between a "tool" and a "ulility"?

Explained: The thinking behind the 32GB Windows Format limit on FAT32

Lomax

Re: "the age-old problem of the temporary solution becoming de-facto permanent"

Side note: Until the End of the World, anyone?

Lomax
Megaphone

Re: "the age-old problem of the temporary solution becoming de-facto permanent"

> there's a lot of backwards going on right now in computing

I was just thinking about how barely anyone I know uses anything that looks like a computer any more; the programmers have grown up to middle management (and have forgotten all about code), the creatives have become YouTubers (and have forgotten all about creating), and most others work in hospitality (as in AirBnB), sales (as in B&Q), warehousing (as in Amazon) or driving (as in Uber). The black mirror they all carry in their pockets, and which studiously records their every breath, is what they use for anything which would otherwise require a computer. They give me strange looks when I pull out my laptop to check my emails ("why don't you use WhatsApp!?"). Also: none of them chat, email or write any more - the UI is optimised for voice & video and "typing" is reduced to the occasional "LOL" or smiley. Talk about going backwards - the technology which once promised to set us all free instead turned us into mindless serfs. The most brilliant tool ever invented is no longer used to make, only to consume.

And now for something completely different: A lightweight, fast browser that won't slurp your data

Lomax
Devil

Indefensible

I see several people in this thread contorting themselves to defend excessive use of JavaScript - they are either lazy, ignorant or both. Please read and digest the relevant standards and you'll see that much of what you think can only be done with JS has already been addressed in HTML, CSS and HTTP. Not only that - there is elegance, pragmatism and restraint. If you think JavaScript is the answer you've likely misunderstood the question. Certainly leaving the user with a blank page because he doesn't want to run your scripts is just plain rude. The web is not only for man, but also for machine - and for man not only for the sighted and able bodied. Bet you've never even heard of tabindex.

Makes me glad to be out of the web development game; we would hate each other if we had to work together.

Lomax
Alert

"Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network"

Is that because i'm not using your browser spyware?

US nuke agency hacked by suspected Russian SolarWinds spies, Microsoft also installed backdoor

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail

Open source has never looked this good.

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail ..... one of the greatest of myths

If you wish to cover all the lands with your plague, without interruption or intrusion from the other planets or worlds, then go into the basement or the shed, and presently perform the sacred ritual; dance for the system that never sees daylight (or another system), so that the purity of the strain may be preserved. Only this holy vial can contain your dreams of domination, only this vial has the power to let the powerful continue to rule in their sunken vessel. When the light turns green, the truth is reborn, and the eating and the eaten emerge to feast.

Lomax

Re: Too big to fail

Pretty sure they will be looking very carefully right now. Not that that means they'll find anything - and not that that means it isn't there. Last time I checked a minimal Windows OS install was in the 40GB region, and we're talking compiled code of course. How many lines of C#, C++, VB, Assembler, what have you, only god Bill knows. Trillions?

Lomax

Re: i used to enjoy solarwinds Orion when it was a single app ona single server

PRTG +1

Lomax
Black Helicopters

Too big to fail

If Microsoft's production systems had been compromised, and malicious code had been pushed out via Windows Update, do you think they would admit it, or try to cover it up? If I was directing the activities of the group responsible for this hack, I would consider the Windows/Office codebase to be the ultimate target - get in there and you pwn the world. Damn near 100% of corporate and governmental desktops and laptops run Windows, and Office, and most of them are inside some part of their VPNs - many no doubt in the innermost layer. Servers are watched 24/7 by admins and security personnel, because a failure here is considered costly and dangerous. Individual desktops and laptops are less of a concern; they are routinely re-imaged and should not store any really sensitive data - insert a well crafted trojan here and you may evade detection far longer than on any high-value system. Keep an eye on any recent/upcoming Windows Updates for clues...

Ad blocking made Google throw its toys out of the pram – and now even more control is being taken from us

Lomax
Thumb Down

Re: Keep on AdBlocking

I'm running 78.4.0esr and recently closed the 1583 tabs I had accumulated - not to free up memory, but to free myself from them! I have no performance issues whatsoever with Firefox on my i7 8gb machine, but maybe that's because I have NoScript installed. I do have a lot of issues with Google though, and simply cannot use any of their products. I would rather crawl over broken glass switch to any other browser than switch to Chrome.

Lomax
Alert

Re: Keep on AdBlocking

Would you buy Firefox if it was a paid for product? I would. In a heartbeat. ~€50 seems reasonable. I've already donated to the Mozilla Foundation - twice in fact, but I would have no hesitation to buy a license if they switched to that model. It's by far the most heavily used software on my computers, and I've paid hundreds of Euros for some of the other software I use.

World+dog share in collective panic attack as Google slides off the face of the internet

Lomax

Re: “So there was no need to resort to something like Bing”

> a good alternative to Google search

Did you try Qwant?

Lomax
Thumb Up

Re: “So there was no need to resort to something like Bing”

I've been using Qwant as my default search engine for months now, and have found it to be really quite good. Previously tried to use DuckDuckGo as the default but found myself constantly repeating the search in Google - not so with Qwant!

Forget your space-age IT security systems. It might just take a $1m bribe and a willing employee to be pwned

Lomax

Re: The Independent Takes a Stumble Under Pressure

Could be! Is that where Fastly keep their LCY boxen?

Lomax
Go

Re: Just say no

Sounds to me like he did exactly the right thing:

According to the complaint, Kriuchkov traveled to the US in July on a tourist visa and made contact with a Russian-speaking employee at Tesla Gigafactory Nevada.

He met the employee, who remains anonymous in the complaint, several times socially before making him a proposition to pay him to help introduce malware in Tesla’s internal computer system in order to extract corporate data and affect Tesla’s operations.

Kriuchkov alleged that he was representing a group that would then arrange a ransom with Tesla in order to not release the information and stop affecting its operations. The employee didn’t refuse, but he immediately informed Tesla, who in turn informed the FBI.

The FBI launched a sting operation with the employee who wore a wire and shared text communications with Kriuchkov as they were negotiating the terms of the malware attack. The employee and Kriuchkov met several times throughout August to plan the attack and the payment of the employee’s fee.

Interestingly, through the cooperation with the Tesla employee, the FBI was able to obtain information about previous attacks from this group.

https://electrek.co/2020/08/27/tesla-fbi-prevent-ransomware-hack-gigafactory-nevada/ (thanks @disgruntled yank for the link).

Lomax
Big Brother

The Independent Takes a Stumble Under Pressure

Any guesses who's behind the takedown of the London Independent? It's been down most of the day, at one point showing the Apache2 Ubuntu Default page, and currently

Timed out while waiting on cache-lcy19271-LCY
The cache time-out makes me think DDoS. Then again, maybe it's just that the ops team haven't had their maintenance whipping, due to Covid-19 social distancing...

The Viking Snowden: Denmark spy chief 'relieved of duty' after whistleblower reveals illegal snooping on citizens

Lomax

Re: Corruption,... again

The science is on empathy is actually quite interesting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy#Development

It's a trait that is shared by most mammals, and humanity is likely not the most empathetic species, though we are near the top. Dolphins for example, have three times as many Von Economo neurons as humans do, and the bonobo has also been shown to be a highly empathetic animal, perhaps more so than we are. But we could not have climbed to the technologically sophisticated heights we find ourselves at without a considerable amount of empathy. High-technology requires cooperation between large groups of people, which would quickly break down if we were lacking empathy. It's an evolved trait which gives us an advantage. Per definition though, empathy must include those not part of our own tribe; that's what makes it a thing.

Steve Wozniak at 70: Here's to the bloke behind Apple who wasn't a complete... turtleneck

Lomax
Pint

Triumph of the Nerds

I raise a glass to Woz, the ultimate protonerd, and celebrate by re-watching Rob Cringely's excellent 1996 documentary series.

https://archive.org/details/triumph_of_the_nerds

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

Lomax
Devil

Simple, elegant and powerful

No, not PHP; Ruby on Rails.

China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results

Lomax
Alert

Q.E.D.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-riteaid-software/

> Cathy Langley, Rite Aid’s vice president of asset protection, said earlier this year that facial recognition – which she referred to as “feature matching” – resulted in less violence and organized crime in the company’s stores.

> Some security experts said any program with connections to China was troubling because it could open the door to aggressive surveillance in the United States more typical of an autocratic state.

Lomax
Boffin

Re: Remind me

Intel Management Engine can be neutered, though the procedure is not for the faint of heart:

https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner/wiki/How-does-it-work?

In particular, this will disable the ME's network stack, which should make it pretty useless as a backdoor.

Lomax

So you agreed with my post? For some reason I got a different impression. My apologies!

Lomax
Facepalm

Me: It's difficult to avoid becoming more totalitarian when in open competition with a totalitarian state.

AC: Wrong; you're already half way there!

Me: ...

Lomax

>SWOOOSH<

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware

Lomax
Boffin

Re: Rookie mistake

Ah, I see. I'm sorry, but I couldn't understand what you meant with

> Well yes, phones do this.

Do what? From looking at pictures* of stand alone Blu-ray players, they seem to use touch interfaces almost exclusively, but these are of the capacitive touch "button" type (as opposed to a GUI on an LCD), which should be (almost) as easy to read as physical buttons. A touch button interface often uses a dedicated chip to read the capacitive sensor inputs and translating them to logic levels, so from the SoC's perspective they look just like regular buttons. Some SoCs have native capacitive inputs, eliminating the need for an external chip. It's still an inferior technology to physical buttons though, over which it only really has two advantages: bling factor and cost saving. Some might argue capacitive touch inputs are better environmentally protected and more durable than physical buttons, but then you don't know buttons as well as I do :)

*) A photo on the web is about as close as I'd like to get to one of those things.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

Not quite: you still need to keep some physical buttons pressed in while powering up to get the phone into recovery mode, unless of course it's an Apple device in which case you're SOL. The reason for this is quite simple: the SoC won't know that you want it to go into recovery mode unless you tell it, and to do that via the touchscreen would require the device to boot up first - so if the reason you want to enter recovery mode is that it won't boot... Physical buttons by contrast are connected (more or less) straight to the SoC's GPIO pins and can therefore be read by its low-level firmware prior to booting.

Lomax
Devil

Re: Rookie mistake

> Would it need extra hardware?

If I was designing it I would include a button to purposely trigger a "factory reset" or other recovery option. But most such gadgets include user interface buttons anyway (unless they've gone all "glass"*) - I'm sure the bootloader could be made to check their state instead, negating the need for an extra reset button. E.g. "hold down [stop] and [skip back] while powering on to perform a factory reset".

*) What is it with people and touchscreens? How is it possible to prefer pressing your finger against a perfectly flat glass surface with zero feedback over pressing a distinctly tactile button!? I'm sure it's only a question of time before we get Nintendo DS style laptops with a touchscreen keyboard which doubles as a social media interface that you cannot disable.

Edit: Hell, the way things are going I predict touchscreen pianos and guitars will be a thing any day now. Just remember you heard about it here first!

Edit 2: No really; people look at new cars with all glass cockpits and go "oooh, sexy, I want that one". Only to receive a Darwin award shortly after their purchase, when trying to change the fan setting while on the motorway.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

> That would, presumably, require a bit of code and a bit of storage.

True. And a button. But the on-board storage on the SoC (presumably some MediaTek/ARM-32 jobbie) might be large enough to hold a factory boot config which is used when the one in flash won't boot - or if the user holds in a button while powering up the device. So the only additional hardware needed could be a button - unless of course you can use an interface key which is already present, in which case the hardware cost would be zero (ok, make that two buttons, for a proper three-finger-salute). That "only" leaves the code... and the testing... but those should be one-off costs. And the beancounters can do one; it will cost the company more to cover mail-in "repair" costs if when their devices go TITSUP - not just in terms of logistics, manhours and materials, but in brand reputation. As demonstrated by this very thread.

Lomax

Re: Rookie mistake

I am somewhat resigned to the observed reality that just because you've tested something to destruction that doesn't guarantee it won't go TITSUP due to something unexpected - hopefully in an entertaining fashion, or in a way which leads to new scientific discoveries. A user accessible method for restoring a "last known good configuration" (which could be the same as a "factory reset") seems essential for any "smart" gadget - and is a curious omission on these Blu-ray players.

Fancy some fishy-chips? Just order one of these sensors: Research shines light on suspect component sources

Lomax
Boffin

1-Wire parasitic power

> some lack features like support for using parasitic power – using power even if a device is turned off

Parasitic power on 1-Wire networks is actually quite clever; as the name implies these devices can run off a single wire for both data and power (some kind of ground reference also needs to be available of course). The chip charges an on-board capacitor with enough power from the data line (during a 750ms preamble) to wake up, execute the request, and return the response. In other words, such a device can run off the whiff of an oily rag, and draws zero power when idle. Originally envisaged by Dallas as a "MicroLan" for all manner of ultra-low power devices, 1-Wire today is mostly used for temperature sensors and ID tags (like the ones many waiters carry on a retractable keychain, and use to identify themselves at the till, a.k.a. "iButton"). This is a shame, because it's pretty cool technology, especially for the power conscious. That said, there are still a few 1-Wire enthusiast suppliers around, such as HomeChip and Sheepwalk Electronics. Check Wikipedia for more info about 1-Wire.

Soft press keys for locked-down devs: Three new models of old school 60-key Happy Hacking 'board out next month

Lomax

Re: I used to use L,H,J,K lad, and I were lucky to even have that!

> bold move for a "developer" keyboard

No function keys either! What digital contortion is required to Ctrl+Alt+F1-8? Alt+F4? F5 to refresh? F11 for full screen? F12 for debug console? No dedicated Home, End, Ins, Del, PgUp, PgDn. Space-bar the size of a shift key. What are you supposed to be programming with this, a VHS recorder? It's like paying more for less. A lot more!

Page:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022